GENEVA/LONDON (19 September 2019) — The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has completed its first visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 8-19 of September. The aims of the visit were to advise on the functions of the 21 statutory bodies that monitor places of deprivation of liberty and act as the national preventive mechanism (NPM), and to evaluate the material conditions and the safeguards in place for the protection against ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty.
“We are delighted with the excellent cooperation with the authorities. We also worked closely with the national preventive mechanism, with whom we conducted joint visits,” said Daniel Fink, who led the six-member delegation.
The delegation visited police stations, prisons, immigration detention facilities, and mental health institutions. It conducted confidential interviews with individual detainees and staff members. It also held meetings with the UK authorities, members of the NPM, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well as civil society representatives.
“The visiting bodies do an impressive amount of good work, but a more robust legislative framework is needed to achieve full compliance with the Optional Protocol,” underlined Daniel Fink.
The SPT will submit a report to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and a separate report to the NPM, which will contain observations and recommendations arising from the visit. These reports will remain confidential unless they decide to make them public, and the Subcommittee encourages them to do so.
The delegation was composed of Mr. Daniel FINK (Switzerland) as Head of Delegation, Mr. Satyabhooshun Gupt DOMAH (Mauritius), Ms. Suzanne JABBOUR (Lebanon), Ms. June Caridad PAGADUAN LOPEZ (Philippines), Mr. Kosta MITROVIC (Serbia), and Ms. Zdenka PEROVIĆ (Montenegro).
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The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture monitors States parties’ adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture which to date has been ratified by 90 countries. The Subcommittee is made up of 25 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Subcommittee has a mandate to undertake visits to States parties, during the course of which it may visit any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty.
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